Anne Michaels, The Winter Vault (McClelland & Stewart, 2009)

untitledCanada’s and one of the world’s great stylists of language, Michaels is best known for the deeply moving Fugitive Pieces. The breadth of this book is remarkable, moving as it does between the flooding towns of the Saint Lawrence as the Seaway is built, to Montreal to Toronto to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings as the Aswan High Dam is constructed. The writing is so strong that it overwhelms the characters, who seem more concerned to express themselves with poetic richness than in living their lives.